NAIROBI, KENYA: Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has denied the existence of plastic rice on Kenyan market as depicted in a social media video that has since gone viral.
In an emailed statement to the newsrooms, Kebs Managing Director Charles Ongwae dismissed the video as allegations and clarified that it was just plastics being recycled.
"The video circulating on social media shows a common process often conducted by manufacturers when recycling plastic materials," he said.
"Through it, used plastic products are recycled and converted into pellets, which can then be re-used to produce various plastic products."
Mr Ongwae further stated that the Kebs market surveillance team has conducted several store visits, collected and tested the samples. All the tests, he affirmed, showed that the rice that is currently in the market is safe for consumption.
The viral video, with a male voice, warning Kenyans to keep off this commodity had caused panic among consumers. With Kenya experiencing serious shortage of maize, many families have been forced to switch from ugali to rice.
The agency said in a statement that despite requesting for information on the source and location of those dealing or retailing in plastic rice, no one has come out to provide details.
"We call on consumers to submit samples of rice or any other product that they feel do not meet standards for testing at our laboratories in Nairobi, Kisumu or Mombasa," appealed Ongwae.
Kebs says that the rice, currently in Kenyan stores, confirms to the East Africa and Kenya Standards (KS EAS 128).
As practice, all imports are supposed to be tested in the country of origin under the Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) Programme. They are then supposed to enter Kenya supported with Certificates of Conformity (CoC).
The CoC is usually a confirmation that the imports have been inspected against the relevant standards at source and found to meet the requirements of the respective product standards.